Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Walum Olum: Authentic or Fake?

The image you see below is an artist's interpretation that borrows heavily from the Walum Olum. This particular pictograph and the words that go with it illustrates a creation story that is similar in some ways to the creation story in the Book of Genesis.

First of all, what is the Walum Olum?

The necessary background is provided in this quote from Steven C. Harper (page 18):

In 1822 an eccentric natural history professor at Transylvania College, Constantine S. Rafinesque, reportedly inherited a pictographic Lenape history, the "Walum Olum," from a mysterious Dr. Ward, who received it for treating Delawares in Indiana. Rafinesque learned Lenape from the dictionaries of Moravian missionaries and translated the "Walum Olum" which he published in 1836.

In recent years the Walum Olum (sometimes known as the Red Record) has also been published on the Sacred Texts website.

The Walum Olum comes up occasionally in my research and I've noticed that while some have claimed it to be a fraud, others quote from it as if it is an ultimate authority. Well, which is it?

An authentic sacred text or a fraud? The answer is.....

The same as the answer to many historical questions: we don't know for sure.

I'm going to have to admit that most people think it is a fake. For evidence on that see the Archaeology Magazine website. According to that site the Walum Olum is "Hokum."

So it goes without saying that the Walum Olum - by itself - should not be used to prove things. (Unfortunately, this is being done by people who claim to be educated.)

I consider the Walum Olum to possibly be authentic based on what I read today in Steven C. Harper's book. The rest of this post is based on a few things that Harper has to say.

One of the best known historians of the Delaware people, C. A. Weslager "admired [the Walum Olum's] consistency with archaeological and ethnographical accounts" (according to Harper, page 19, this was covered in pages 77-79 of Weslager's Delaware Indians).

Of course, just because it gives an accurate picture of the Delaware people doesn't mean that it was created by the Delawares before white contact as some claim.

Could the Walum Olum possibly be an ancient text?

[This paragraph was written on November 15th, 2011]
My reading of Steven Harper (I borrowed his book and no longer have access to it) led me to believe that the Walum Olum might possibly be an ancient text. However, the only evidence Harper gives of this is a 1955 article in the Texas Journal of Science. I have a copy of that article and it will be the topic of my next post.


Harper, Steven C. (2006) Promised Land: Penn's Holy Experiment, the Walking Purchase, and the Dispossession of the Delawares, 1600 - 1763. Bethlehem, PA: Lehigh University Press.

Newcomb, William W. Jr., "The Walum Olum of the Delaware Indians in Perspective," Texas Journal of Science, Volume 7 (1955), pages 57-63.

Weslager, Clinton A. (1972) The Delaware Indians: A History. Bruunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

1 comment :

Myron said...

A very much bigger mistake would be for a well educated scholar to have knowledge of evidence and written testimony, including the Maalan Aarum, of specific things that happened hundreds of years ago and NOT incorporate those things into a hypothetical paradigm to which other evidence, such as the 1720 Carte du Canada can be vetted.

The specific evidence, written testimony, counter arguments, and the Maalan Aarum, including 100 straight phrases, which have been deciphered are shown on the Frozen Trail to Merica web site. I encourage you to provide counter evidence or testimony to specify items to modify the paradigm.

Until you do the Maalan Aarum is:

an 880 year old oral history of the Lenape people, which includes.

chapters 1 and 2 which are equivalent to Genesis chapters 1-8, which were made 500 years before the King James Bible.

a recording of the 4,000 mile, 150 year Lenape migration from Greenland to the Atlantic coast via the Dakotas.

The recording includes:

The first recorded "government by council" event in America.

The rejection of Paul Knutson's rescue attempt.

A determination of the latitude of Sisseton, SD

A second version of the Kensington Rune Stone event, 1362

A recording of the drought about 1410.

A recording of the caves in SE Minnesota,

The Missouri river.

The Mississippi river.

The Illinois Tribe. [Lenape with new name.]

The Miami Tribe. [heart of the Lenape.]

The Shawnee and Nanticoke Tribes.

The Norwegian ship captained by Pinning and Pothorst, 1472

Fighting De Soto, c1538

The devastation of the disease from the Spanish.

The ship of the 2nd English Voyage to America during which the Lenape taught the English about:

the one supreme god,

everlasting life,

the burial of the dead,

the Virgin Mary,

the "mother in every temple,"

Lasuras and


If a mystery exists, it is why did NOT the scholars employed in the universities decipher the oldest American history a century ago, when they had people who could speak both languages fluently?